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Body Safety Blog

A more in-depth analysis on all things body safety, boundaries, consent and current events.

What's Green, Yellow and Red Flag Behavior?

When we don't know what's appropriate and what's not, we may miss signs that point to deeper issues that need to be investigated, intervened and resolved.

That's why all safe adults should know what green, yellow and red flag behavior is.

Let's look at each of these scenarios below.

Try to guess which flag each falls under. There is a key below so you can check if you were right or need to better understand these behaviors.

#1- Green flag. This is a teachable moment to explain about self-exploration, what's appropriate and safe, and what's not.

#2- Yellow/Red flag. This is not age appropriate knowledge, and even if what they're explaining is incorrect, they should not be explaining it to a younger sibling. This is worth finding out more about where the 8 year old learned this information. 

#3- Yellow/Red flag. 6th graders are at the cusp of puberty and are very curious about relationships and aspects of dating. But spin the bottle is not age appropriate...

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When Schools Get It Wrong and Parents Get It Right

Moms, remember to stay vigilant... 

Sitting in a car, speaking with a Georgian accent, she started sharing about how she discovered that her daughter had been receiving text messages from her 6th-grade teacher- and they were not overtly sexual, but they were definitely inappropriate. They were definitely red-flag grooming messages.

 

Can you imagine discovering that on your child's phone? Reading things like "Good morning beautiful. Good night beautiful. How was your day beautiful?" and sending your child songs that are not for kids, with innuendos that most definitely infer romantic or sexual desire!

 

I wouldn't blame you if you were outrageously upset! And this mom was definitely freaked out about the types of messages she was reading.

 

The mom did the right next thing and reported this inappropriate communication from the teacher to her daughter, to the school. She found out that the teacher was texting 4 of the girls in his class this way.

 

The school...

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5 Important Holiday Safety Tips

KEEP KIDS SAFE

Today I’m sharing my 5 top tips that can help keep your kids safer from sexual abuse during family holiday gatherings. 

 

Now, you might be saying to yourself, but Rosalia, do I really need to keep my kids safe at family gatherings- is there really a risk for sexual abuse if I know everyone and they’ll just be playing with other kids, and the other kids are family? 

 

Is that really a thing I need to be thinking or worrying about?

 

The short answer is yes. And here’s why.

 

Child sexual abuse can only happen if two things are present. Risk and opportunity. I’m going to share how those two things increase the chances of abuse or assault happening and, more importantly, what you can do to reduce those risks and limit those opportunities while also helping your child practice boundary-setting, while also using body safety to stay safer- even, and especially, at family gatherings.

 

RISK + OPPORTUNITIES

...

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PODCAST: Ep 47 Body Safety Education in All U.S. Schools

“CONTENT WARNING” AND “TRIGGER WARNING.”

Erin Merryn joins me to talk about Erin's Law that mandates schools to provide body safety education for grades K-12 in the United States. 38 states have passed the law and in this episode we talk about why she became a champion for schools to teach this education and what the results have been since passing the law in those states. She shares her own personal story of survival, and leadership.

Time Stamps:

0:02 Intro

2:30 What Is Erin's Law

7:10 Erin's Story of Abuse

9:33 Erin's diary as an outlet for anger

14:13 When predators are getting away with abusing one child

16:45 Children's advocacy centers

23:20 What did his sister do?

30:14 Erin's Law in Ohio

33:26 What's the fear of Planned Parenthood

38:16 What can parents do to advocate for this law

41:18 The importance of writing a letter to your legislator

46:53 Principals' lunch buddies program

49:56 If the law is not passed, this is what needs to be talked about in...

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Secrets, Surprises + Privacy

One of the most essential safety skills your child should learn is the difference between secrets, privacy, and surprises. I mean, have you ever thought about it? Do you even know the difference? And more importantly, do your kids?

 

When I had my first child, I used to think I knew the difference, but it turns out I didn't. And that's okay because it's never too late to learn and educate ourselves as parents. Here's a little story to illustrate my point.

 

So, I have three kiddos, and when my oldest was potty training, I read somewhere that giving them a little treat, like a chocolate chip, every time they successfully used the potty could be a good idea. And let me tell you, it worked like a charm! But, of course, I didn't want the other two to feel left out or start asking for treats too. So, I told my child that we had to keep it a secret between us so that no one else would know about the chocolate chips.

 

Looking back, I realized that was a big mistake. Secrets...

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When my child asked me 'Mom, what's 69?'...

Answering Inevitable Questions

How would your parents have reacted if you had asked them this question? Maybe something like 'Why the heck are you asking about that?', or 'Where did you hear that dirty phrase?' or "Don't be asking about things like that?" in either angry, panicked, or shameful tones!

 

When I was a kid/tween or teen, I knew that asking my mom ANYTHING that had to do with S.E.X. was OFF THE TABLE. No, sir, was I going to raise my mom's wrath!

 

And also, I figured she might not even know because she NEVER talked about sex.

 

But I knew, from the start of having kids, that I didn't want to be that way. I knew that I wanted to raise my kids in a sex-positive home that was safe and trustworthy.

 

That's easy on paper.

 

It's a nice picture in my head.

 

The reality (once I had kids) is that it felt scary AF (if I'm being honest).

 

Fortunately, I've had experts like Melissa Carnagey of Sex Positive Families and Amy Lang of Birds Bees...

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Is Grandma Grooming Your Child? Probably Not, But She’s Unintentionally Helping Others Do it.

 A concerned mother direct messaged me on Instagram a few days ago, saying this:

 

“Hey Rosalia, 

 

I have been working on setting boundaries re:consent/abuse prevention for a while now and recently tried to set a boundary with family members asking that they consult with us before purchasing gifts for our kids. 

 

My MIL had a very strong reaction to this request and had tried to pushback ever since. 

 

I’ve had people tell me I’m being rude for asking this of my family members but in my mind this is a way to prevent manipulation tactics and model what safe adults look like for our kids. 

 

Am I being unreasonable? Is there anything you’d suggest with regards to how I could explain this boundary better for family members and friends who may be having a hard time with it?”

 

Here’s what I answered:

 

First, I praised her for setting the boundary. For one, it’s her child and her...

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The 5 Things You Need To Know For Safe Sleepovers

Beth Robinson, author of the book "Protecting Children from Predators" says this about how to determine if your child is ready for sleepovers:

  • “Are your children old enough to recognize when someone is trying to engage them in inappropriate sexual behavior? The younger the child, the greater the risk when you let them attend a sleepover. Younger children won’t recognize a risky situation until it is too late.”
  • “Are your children assertive enough to draw attention to inappropriate overtures from other children or adults? Some children have the confidence to yell or push away someone who makes them uncomfortable, while others are too timid to try to stop an adult or older child from hurting them. No child should attend a sleepover who lacks the confidence and assertiveness to rebuff inappropriate sexual behavior.”
  •  “Will your children call you if something unsafe happens at a sleepover? Some children are easily influenced by peers and...
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#Groomer. Definition + Intention

In U.S. law, there is a clear distinction between 1st-degree murder, 2nd-degree murder, and manslaughter.

 

You can also say that they are all the same thing because someone was killed in all those situations.

 

This is how many are currently using the word grooming- as if it encapsulates many cultural issues today.

 

The main distinction between 1st-degree murder, 2nd-degree murder, and manslaughter is their intent.

 

In law, the intent is everything.

 

Same with grooming and why defining this clearly is so important.

 

If we don't have a clear definition, we can call everything grooming.

 

The broad term 'grooming' means to 'prepare someone for something'. But if you are going to say that children are being sexually groomed, then we must be specific about how that word is being applied.

 

My issue is that child sexual grooming means a very specific thing, but the term #groomer is being applied very broadly. The word grooming loses its...

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42 Questions To Ask Your Child's School

For many parents, the end of the calendar year is full of celebration for the holidays, but shortly after is the beginning of a new school year! Usually, this is for parents of young children who are entering school for the very first time.

Understandably, many parents trust schools to be safe spaces. That is what is sold to parents as the 'tradition' that is school.

But how exactly can you be so sure? How can we make sure that schools are following proper safety policies and procedures, and who determines those policies and procedures?

I know as a mom of three, having children in the school system, that I have received the school handbook, which typically has a short section on child safety.

Some schools have a separate child safety handbook, but it's still full of basics that are mostly, so parents have information about what's expected of their child and what the school rules are.

It doesn't typically go in depth about how they make sure that staff are safe persons (we assume the...

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